Foreign policy and defense
Swaziland is highly dependent on the major
neighboring countries of South Africa and Mozambique.
For commercial reasons, the country also prioritizes
good relations with the United States, the United
Kingdom and Taiwan. However, the United States and the
United Kingdom have in various ways marked against
Swaziland's lack of democracy and respect for human
Due to the great dependence on South Africa, during
the apartheid era, Swaziland did not dare to allow the
South African liberation movement to operate in the
country. As a government party in South Africa, the ANC
has supported the opposition in Swaziland, which the
Swazi regime has protested against.
Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Swaziland for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
The ANC government has long sought to push for the
development of democracy in Swaziland through so-called
silent diplomacy. This means that the South African
government avoids openly criticizing the Swazi regime
but for a dialogue on political reforms with the royal
house behind closed doors. However, ahead of the
Swaziland 2013 elections, the South African government
party urged the ANC to open the neighboring country to
accelerate its development towards democracy and
demanded that all political prisoners be released, and
that oppositional Swazis should return to their home
country without reprisals.
Access to the waters of the Komati River has caused a
dispute between Swaziland, South Africa and Mozambique.
Major projects for irrigation and hydropower in
Swaziland and South Africa have reduced the flow of
water to Mozambique, which has therefore called for
compensation. In 1995, Sweden tried to contribute,
through the aid agency Sida, to a solution that means
that the three countries should be able to share their
water resources fairly. An agreement was concluded in
2002, but the dispute is not yet fully settled as
Swaziland and South Africa have since opened a new pond.
In addition, there is disagreement between Swaziland
and South Africa on a land area that is currently
included in South Africa but which Swaziland claims.
Swaziland is linked to South Africa through
membership in the Customs Union of Southern Africa
Customs Union (Southern African Customs Union, Sacu),
which also includes Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia.
Swaziland is also a member of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC).
Swaziland has been trying to forge closer ties with
the UK and the US since the turn of the millennium, but
both the EU and the US have threatened to withdraw a
number of trade benefits for Swaziland unless democracy
is introduced in the country and the regime's respect
for human rights is increasing. In 2014, the United
States excluded Swaziland from the trade cooperation
Agoa (African Growth Opportunity Act), which provides
some 40 sub-Saharan favorable conditions in the US
market. The counterpart is that the countries must live
up to certain democratic demands, which Swaziland was
not expected to do.
For the same reason, the UK downgraded its diplomatic
representation in Swaziland in 2006 to an honorary
consulate and now manages its diplomatic relations with
Swaziland mainly from the British consulate in Pretoria,
For commercial reasons, Swaziland has diplomatic
relations with Taiwan and not with China.
The Swazi armed forces amount to 3,000 men,
distributed to the army, the semi-military royal police
and a small plane. There is no military service.
Opposition leaders are released
Pudemo's leader Mario Masuko is released from prison. He promises to continue
the fight for democratic reforms.